Eleanor Herring's unique study of street furniture in post-war Britain considers how objects which are now familiar parts of our urban environment were designed to populate public spaces. Herring explores the design of lampposts, post boxes, parking meters, and signage in the context of a government backed by various bodies keen to propagate 'good' modern design, in a Britain whose towns and cities had been laid waste by bombing and the privations of war.
She also considers the innate conservatism of local communities and councils, wary of a standardised street design imposed from above. She traces how the design of street furniture became the site of a fierce struggle which exposed deep-seated anxieties about class, taste and power. Herring's original research draws on archival material and on interviews with leading figures in urban design, including graphic designer Margaret Calvert and industrial designer Kenneth Grange.
Eleanor Herring lectures in design history at the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland. She has published articles in various edited volumes and conference proceedings.
Introduction 1. Precedents and Beginnings: 1814 - 1944 2. The Council of Industrial Design: Official Articulations of Street Furniture Design 3. The Great and the Good: Power and Influence 4. Municipal Vandalism: Tyranny, Confrontation and Resistance 5. Beyond Good Design: A Period of Transformation 1960 - 1974 Conclusion Epilogue